By Kristen Seeber
Women’s Fund of Smith County
Today is my sister’s birthday. She’s my younger sister, by six years, and I love her fiercely. She is tall, blonde and beautiful. Her energy gives life to any room. She has a big laugh and a big personality. I once heard her shout to a UPS delivery man, “Have a great day! Love you!” She looks for the good – in everything, in everyone – and finds the best by doing so. On a dreary day, she brings the sunshine.
I have another sister – my middle sister – and I love her just as fiercely. Our age difference is only 18 months. Having shared a bedroom, until I went to college, we know each other’s deepest secrets and have endless stories and inside jokes. She’s the mediator, for sure – always fair, always thoughtful, always kind. Her beauty shines through her gentle and calming demeanor. She, too, is a spirit lifter and day brightener.
We three girls have a special bond. We’re permanent best friends. Together, we navigated childhood and adolescence. When mom and dad didn’t understand, my sisters always did. We’ve weathered break-ups, make-ups, marriages and motherhood – encouraging each other every step of the way. Though we’ve certainly had our share of girl drama and sibling rivalry over the years, we’re on the same team. We love each other, even when we can’t stand each other. If clouds surround me, I can count on my little sisters to help me find the silver lining.
Whether it’s a sister from birth or a beloved friend, those who are close in a sisterhood get it. To call another woman a sister is to say, “I trust you.” A sisterhood is a safe place – a place of honesty and authenticity. A sisterhood also is a place of empowerment.
Empowered sisters are superwomen. William Moulton Marston, an American psychologist and writer credited for creating the character Wonder Woman, struck upon an idea for a new kind of superhero – one who would triumph, not with fists or firepower, but with love. “Fine,” said his wife, Elizabeth. “But make her a woman.”
The Women’s Fund of Smith County is a strong circle of givers who believe that when women are empowered, families and communities are empowered. We are committed to ensuring that our collective philanthropic efforts transform lives and impact our community. Our sisterhood is intergenerational and diverse which allows us to learn from one another, while learning together about what it means to be a catalyst for positive change. Not only are dollars leveraged through our giving, love is leveraged.
We care about our community and the challenges our neighbors face. So, with united hearts, we try to bring the sunshine – to help others out of the shadows and into the light. These sisters of mine understand the difference between responding with an individual $100 donation and being a part of a $35,000 or $100,000 grant to a nonprofit organization. We recognize that larger gifts can move the needle on compelling issues, create more impact and spread more love.
Why does collective giving appeal to multiple generations of women? It’s flexible, it’s meaningful, and it’s inspiring. It allows for intentional and strategic decision making. This model of giving also speaks to several emotional drivers of women: creating relationships and community, as well as the opportunity to work together for common causes. We identify with the benefits of collaboration and shared responsibility, and we are motivated by our desire to develop and pass values to the next generation.
I agree with Walt Whitman, “Keep your face always toward the sunshine – and shadows will fall behind you.” Happy Birthday, Karen! And thank you to all my sisters, who bring the light and give the love. You are superheroines in my book.
Kristen Seeber serves as president of the Women’s Fund of Smith County, a collective giving circle which awards grants to nonprofit programs that transform our community and enrich the lives of women and children. Grant applications for 2019 funding are open online now until July 16. Visit www.womensfundsc.org for more information about membership, mission and funding guidelines.